TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

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Carmody
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:05 am

Following is a good source for ideas for books that you may wish to choose from:
https://www.culturetheque.com/EXPLOITATION/US/litterature-essais.aspx
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:47 pm

The covers of French books seem for the most part more colorful than covers of English language books, but maybe I need to spend more time browsing books in English. The most eye-catching title, for me, is Nos ancêtres ne sont pas gaulois !, although its one reviewer gives it only one star. :?

I find myself in arrears about reading the many books already suggested in this thread, though I have been going through French translations of the works of Chekov. And Youtube has a couple of his plays in French translation. One is

La Mouette
which I have not watched yet.

Another is Les Trois Soeurs .

This version is based on a translation by François Morvan et André Markowicz. I must say I have only sampled it (the dialogue is not for beginning listeners). The text translation I have is by Jean-Claude Huens, Karel Krause and Ludmila Okuniéva, with the collaboration of Armand Delcampe (no idea what collaboration means in this context). Note that the French spelling of Chekhov is Tchekhov.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:16 pm

I congratulate you on your reading of plays in French.

I confess that reading plays in English or French is something I really find very difficult.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby PfifltriggPi » Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:50 pm

I just finished La vendetta by Honoré de Balzac. Despite the name it is in fact in French. Like much of Balzac's work this is a relatively mid-length novella. It discusses the story of a small family of Corsicans who were installed in France with the aide of Napoléon after they needed to flee the country because of the titular vendetta. The majority of the actual narrative takes place just after the second fall of Napoléon. Like much of Balzac's work it is a rather "small-scale" drama of passions of all sorts, both positive and negative playing out in a difficult world. Writing the novella took the author around three years, and that time investment very much shows itself through the detail and power of the descriptions, which only intensify as the story continues.

All in all, it is a somewhat typical Balzac piece, and given that Balzac is the master, it is very good. Despite the sad parts I quite enjoyed reading it.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:42 am

Carmody wrote:I congratulate you on your reading of plays in French.

I confess that reading plays in English or French is something I really find very difficult.


Reading plays is not my favorite form of exercise. I much prefer finding a Youtube video to watch with the play in hand. Recently I bought the complete plays of Racine, and I intend to watch them on Youtube while reading along. Probably however Youtube will not have all of them. Up to now I have read but not seen several plays by Corneille, but I have never read or seen a Racine play, and so I'm not sure what to expect from classic French theater.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:21 am

MorkTheFiddle

You are truly remarkable! I congratulate you!

For my part I am struggling through a second time read of Malicroix
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=malicroix+henri+bosco+francais&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

It is very slow going but the reviews on Amazon speak well of it:

Editorial Reviews
Review
“[A] charming back-to-nature fantasia . . . even the strange blood feud bequeathed from Malicroix against a neighboring clan has a timeless, romantic quality.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

"Readers partial to philosophical tangents will find much to enjoy here. . . . [A] work of tremendous lyricism." —Kirkus

"[A] gothic historical par excellence . . . Bosco’s atmospheric investigation of the relationship between environment and mentality successfully merges haunted-house tropes and high modernism." —Publishers Weekly

"In this vast prose-poem . . . the author takes the time to show the harrowing of space in which the house is to live like an anguished heart. . . . The real drama of Malicroix is an ordeal by solitude." —Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

“[Malicroix is] about solitude, and the anticipation of salvation . . . Bosco’s book is stranger than I’d anticipated. ‘Islands favor the moon,’ someone warns him as his residence on the island is about to begin. ‘Dreams form over water, peopling it with unreal, captivating shapes; and if you dream too much, Sir, you will never leave this isle of magic.’ I’ve read elsewhere that we’re all having strange dreams at this moment; if for some reason you aren’t, Malicroix approximates that experience.” —Rumaan Alam, The New Republic’s Critical Mass: Text Message

“The psychology of isolation, described with keenly observed interiority, fever dreams, and exalted, nearly animistic descriptions of nature are the highlights of these pages. . . . There is an almost mythical family curse at work on our narrator, but the real thrill of this book is the poetic power of the writer.” —David Todd, Booktrib (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Bosco is sometimes thought of as kin to his near contemporary Jean Giono . . . [Malicroix] is both exciting and philosophical. The perfect book for a time when so many of us are thinking a lot about place.” —Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau

“Henri Bosco has done a masterful job of creating a sense of place . . . I loved this book, for the beautiful writing (and translation!) allowing me to contemplate the slow pace that we ourselves are now living . . . It is a time of seclusion that proves Martial’s worth, as he must overcome severe adversity and his fears. . . . perhaps we, too, would be well-served to sit quietly by the fire, calmly reviewing our lives.” —Dolce Bellezza

About the Author Henri Bosco (1888-1976) was a French writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times. His family was of Provençal, Ligurian, and Piedmontese origin, and much of his work focused on Provençal life.


As I said, I am on my second time through it but am certainly not in agreement with the reviewers.

I say all this as an explanation of my silence here of late. I should finish it in another 10 days, after which I will submit my review.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby PfifltriggPi » Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:19 pm

As I wrote in my log, I recently finished reading Le colonel Chabert also by Balzac :

I do believe I liked this even more than La vendetta. This work was significantly longer and as a result had a more complex plot and more developed characters. In some respects Le colonel Chabert is also something of a psychological novel : although nowhere near the level of, say, Dostoevsky, there is nevertheless a fair amount of examination of the inner states of the various characters. As is typical for Balzac, the book is filled with rich and detailed descriptions and near-poetic levels of artistic prose, more so than most of his other works that I have read.

From what I understand, Le colonel Chabert is considered on of the better and more important works by Balzac and after reading it I can very much understand why. It has certainly become one of my favourite French novels.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:29 am

Lots of books just off the presses:

https://tinyurl.com/yxm7vx48
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:57 am

Malicroix by Henri Bosco
-see reviews by others above
-see my review below

Well, this is a book that I am hesitant to review since my tastes do not align with its virtues. Example: my wife enjoys all the various types of chocolate that are out there but I love vanilla. So I am out of my depth with discussing chocolate.

If you like fantasy, melancholy, mystery, Gothic, and large amounts of extremely long wordy sentences on nature and weather you will love this book.

It is a bit of a mixture of HP Lovecraft, E.A. Poe and Wilkie Collins-all of whom I consider far better than this author. There are many reviewers who read and liked this book and you can find their reviews on the internet.

If anyone of you on the Forum reads this book I would welcome you telling me what it was that I missed. I found it brutally plodding.

I would give it 3/10.
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Re: TOTW: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby DaveAgain » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:45 am

Le crépuscule des elfes, also available in an omnibus edition: La trilogie des elfes.

This series is a re-telling of the Arthur/Merlin saga, but with added elves, dwarves, gnomes etc. in le crepuscule des elfes we meet Uter [Pendragon] as one of the principal characters, we also see Ygraine, and towards the end Merlin and Morgane are introduced.

The plot is a quest story, a little like Tolkien's fellowship of the ring, in that you have a small party of travellers, with representatives of various groups, men, elves, dwarves.

I thought it was super, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series (I bought the omnibus edition). Quite a lot of unknown words for me, but an enjoyable read.

I bought it after seeing it mentioned in a YouTube video.
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